Alcohol on the Brain
While the exact prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome is not known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 0.2 to 1.5 children out of every 1,000 live births have the condition, which is caused by alcohol consumption during a pregnancy.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most severe type of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders include alcohol-related birth defects and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder. When the mother consumes alcohol, it is passed on to the fetus across the placenta. Greater harm to the fetus results if the mother drinks during the first three months of the pregnancy, binge drinks, or if she consumes large amounts of alcohol, according to MedlinePlus.
In utero exposure to alcohol can result in damage to several areas of the brain, including the cerebellum, cerebrum, cortex, thalamus, neocortex, hypothalamus, corpus callosum, hippocampus, basal ganglia and septal area. As a result, children with fetal alcohol syndrome can experience several different complications, including learning disorders, behavior problems, delayed development, coordination problems and vision difficulties.